The main card of tonight’s UFC 268 event is kicked off by a highly anticipated lightweight fight between Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler.
Gaethje (22-3 MMA), the promotions former interim lightweight champion, will be returning to action for the first time in twelve months this evening at MSG. ‘The Highlight’ last competed in October of 2020, where he suffered a submission loss to former lightweight kingpin Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Meanwhile, Michael Chandler (22-6 MMA) also enters UFC 268 in hopes of rebounding from a recent setback. The former Bellator champion most recently competed in May, where he fell short in his goal of capturing the UFC’s vacant lightweight title, suffering a second round TKO loss to Charles Oliveira.
Round one of this lightweight fight begins and Justin Gaethje swings and misses with a low kick. Michael Chandler throws a pair of bombs that just miss. He steps in with another right but Gaethje avoids. ‘The Highlight’ with a jab to the body. He tags Chandler with a good right. The fighters exchange low kicks. Both men are landing big shots now. Michael Chandler with a good right. Gaethje appears to be stunned. He leaps in with a low kick but ‘Iron Mike’ answers with another right. More low kicks from these lightweight beasts. Gaethje swings and misses with a right. He lands a follow up jab. Chandler with a double jab. Justin Gaethje answers with a low kick. A pair of big rights score for Michael Chandler. ‘The Highlight’ returns fire. Chandler with a knee. Both men are wobbled. Michael has a bad cut over his eye now. That was utter chaos. Gaethje with a good uppercut and then a 1-2 combination. Chandler with an uppercut and then a right hand. One minute remains in the opening round. Justin Gaethje with a hard uppercut. Chandler digs a shot to the body. The former Bellator champion shoots in but Gaethje defends. ‘The Highlight’ with a big combination now. Chandler appears to have slowed down. Justin with another crushing low kick. The horn sounds to end round one.
Round two begins and Michael Chandler swings and misses with a left hook. He lands a follow up jab. Justin Gaethje with a big 1-2 up the middle. Chandler answers with a jab and then a hook to the body. A big right hand over the top lands for ‘Iron Mike’. Gaethje returns fire with a right hand and then a chopping low kick. Chandler returns fire with a low kick of his own. Gaethje drops Chandler with an uppercut. ‘The Highlight’ swarms him on the ground with punches. This is close to being stopped. Michael dives for a takedown but Gaethje takes North-South and continues to rain down punishment. Michael Chandler somehow gets back to his feet and begins to trade punches with Gaethje. He rips a hard shot to the body of the former UFC interim lightweight champion. Justin Gaethje with another hard right hand. Chandler answers. A big low kick puts ‘Iron Mike’ back down on the floor. He pops back up but Gaethje hammers him with a right. Chandler lands a huge right in return and then the horn sounds to end round two.
The third and final round of this lightweight scrap begins and Justin Gaethje takes the center of the Octagon and lands a low kick. He steps back and fires off another. Michael Chandler looks to come inside but eats a jab. The former Bellator champ with a big right hand. He follows that up with an uppercut. Gaethje counters with a hook – uppercut combination. Chandler with a flurry of shots to the body. Justin digs to the leg with a calf kick. Michael Chandler answers with a right hand. He shoots in for a takedown and dumps Justin Gaethje on his head. The fighters scramble and are back up on their feet. Gaethje lands a stiff jab. Chandler rips the body. Another hard low kick from Justin. Michael returns fire with a flurry and Gaethje counters with a massive right. Both men are stunned. Chandler is just walking at Gaethje now, but it is ‘The Highlight’ landing all the shots. Less than a minute remains. Chandler with a jumping kick that misses by a wide margin. He attempts another but Justin avoids. The horn sounds to end this war.
This fight is absolutely BANANAS 😳
— UFC (@ufc) November 7, 2021
Official UFC 268 Result: Justin Gaethje def. Michael Chandler by unanimous decision (29-28 x3, 30-27)
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